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HD failed, intend to connect it via USB


Alienware Area 51 ALX Desktop
Vista Ultimate
Quad core
12GB Ram
2 x SSD 128GB HD in Raid 0 giving 256GB
2 x 1 TB SATA 3Gb/s 7200 RPM additional internal HD's
Optical Drives:
Drive 1: 20x Dual Layer Burner (DVD?RW)
Drive 2: 6x Dual Layer Blu-ray Reader (BD-ROM, DVD?RW, CD-RW)

One of the 1TB drives has failed. It was not recognised by the BIOS. With help from the Dell help desk I tested cable and connections by swapping the two 1TB drives around, swapped bays and connectors, and this showed the faulty drive failed in either bay where the other, good drive, worked in either bay.

I have ordered a new drive. I also ordered and have 'just received' a USB external drive enclosure.

The OS recognised this drive as drive D The other good drive as E, and optical as F & G. With the faulty drive removed, the OS remembers the gap,there is no D drive.


If I insert the faulty drive into the USB enclosure and connect it up to the PC do I run the risk of this drive being designated as drive D by the OS? I would prefer the replacement drive, when it arrives, to be drive D.

I know the drive may not work anyway and that's fine. It was a backup dive and I have other copies. But if I can pull a couple of files off that I hadn't copied across elsewhere that would be nice.

Or should I wait until my replacement disk arrives and is fitted?


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Windows and drives . . .

Windows as far back as 98 has had its own way of assigning drives. I've seen a friends PC with an operating system SATA drive show up as drive G. He has only one drive. He does have a multi-card reader installed and all those drives are B-F.

Anyway, I don't think there is any ryme or reason to the way Windows assigns drive letters. But I believe you can assign a specific drive letter in Computer Management.

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Personally I really don't pay any attentions to....

A: B: C:, etc. I found it to be more logical to label all my harddrive volume.

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Install the old HD elsewhere to retrieve data. That way, the chance of any corruption and/or your old PC getting hosed(not really) won't be that further along when the replacement is ready. Afterall, its the data from old drive you want and any PC with USB port will do. Of course, the flip-side is the old HD is truly gone and yet proven so again trying to access by USB. Just play it safe and try on another PC. IMHO, I don't see the letter assignments following the old HD.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Update and Thank-you's

Thanks everyone for your replies and my apologies for not responding sooner.


Before I could do anything my 2nd 1TB drive failed. Same symptoms, it was not recognised via the BIOS during POST. Help Desk says this 'happens' and my faith in that Help Desk has faltered somewhat. I know it happens, but two drives in quick succession is worrying, and in my view may point to other more serious problems.

However, I had received two replacement drives and fitted/connected them and all seems well, but I am on tenderhooks now. I have now ordered two, further, replacement drives, just in case.

When I got the USB hard drive enclosure I tried connecting the first failed hard drive as a USB but this system didn't even recognise the new hardware. It was to be expected. I have yet to try it on my other PCs, just in case there is some inherent problem with this system.

Again, thanks all.


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